NEW FOR 2008:

– New 3.6-litre six-cylinder engine replaces 3.0-litre six-cylinder
– New five-speed automatic transmission replaces previous five-speed
– New exterior styling
– Larger side-view mirrors
– Improved rear suspension
– Xenon headlamps standard on all models
– New roof rails
– Seven-passenger Premier includes improved third-row access and standard XM satellite radio

An all-new model in 2006, the Subaru Tribeca undergoes a considerable and welcome facelift in 2008. Most notably, the controversial "aircraft-inspired" front-end styling has been replaced with a more conventional grille. The previous B9 designation has also been dropped from the name; the vehicle is now simply the Tribeca. Even with the upgrades, prices do not change from 2007.

The new 3.6-litre, horizontally-opposed six-cylinder "boxer" engine replaces the 3.0-litre of 2007; it makes 256 hp to the previous 245, and 247 lb-ft of torque to the previous 215 lb-ft, and is mated to a new five-speed automatic. Unlike the 2007 model which had a premium fuel recommendation, the 2008 Tribeca runs on regular gasoline.

Subaru extends its no-charge scheduled maintenance program to the 2008 models; the program entitles the owner to no-charge scheduled maintenance for 36 months or 60,000 km.

The base Tribeca seats five passengers and includes 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic dual-zone climate control, heated cloth seats with eight-way driver and four-way passenger power adjustment, 40/20/40 split reclining and folding second-row seats, heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, power locks with keyless entry, leather-wrapped wheel, fog lamps, auto-off Xenon headlamps, power sunroof, roof rails, variable intermittent wipers, intermittent rear washer/wiper, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary jack, cruise control, and garage door opener.

The Limited seats five and adds a premium six-CD stereo with eight speakers and subwoofer, leather upholstery, and two-position driver’s memory function.

The Premier seats seven, and adds 50/50 split flat-folding third-row seats, XM satellite radio, rear-seat DVD entertainment system with 9-inch screen, DVD-based navigation system, and rear-view camera.

When the original B9 Tribeca didn’t do so well for itself, Subaru engineered a remarkably quick overhaul; the new version’s face looks a little like a Chrysler Pacifica, and will blend into the crowd, but it’s a vast improvement on the previous model’s exaggerated styling. The new engine gives the Tribeca some much-needed power, especially when all seven seats are full; despite the larger displacement, fuel economy is virtually the same, but on less-expensive regular-grade gasoline.

Inside, the Tribeca is put together very well, although the seats are hard; second-row passengers have plenty of space, while the third row is cramped and best suited for children. The no-charge maintenance plan is also a rather nice "freebie", and includes such items as oil changes, coolant and brake fluid replacement, tire rotations and air filters.

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